The Goods and services tax ( GST) will soon be implemented and there is a hype surrounding it. According to estimates GST is likely to add nearly 2% growth to India’s annual GDP. This will truly have a tremendous effect on the growth. Also, if sources are to be believed, GST will make transporting more efficient. As per the rule, all lorry crane transportation services moving goods worth more than Rs. 50,000 within or outside a state will have to secure an e-way bill before the dispatch of the consignment.
To generate the e-way bill, the supplier and transporter will have to upload the details on the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN). Once the e-way bill is generated, a unique e-way bill number (EBN) will be made available to the recipient, supplier and the transporter.
With GST, it is estimated that the transport industry will be more specialized. Some principal transporters and lorry crane transportation services will be able to connect the manufacturers with the hubs. Also, there will be subsidiary transporters who will transport consignments from the hubs to the distribution centres. In addition to all this, there will be last-mile transporters who will deliver the goods to the customers. This entire structure will make sourcing more efficient, organize trucking and hence better competitiveness.
Another major advantage of e-way bill is: tax officials will be equipped to inspect any delivery and cross -check it to prevent tax evasion. Also, in case a vehicle is detained without any valid reason for more than 30 minutes, the transporter can inform the authorities about it on the portal.
The main objective here is to curb corruption by eliminating state-wise documentation to ensure smooth movement of consignments and at the same time reduce the number of check-posts in the country.
Although the response to implement the e-way bill was received with objections and suggestions, some people believe that there is too much reliance in technology. This could affect smaller town’s transporters and lorry crane transportation services that aren’t tech –savvy and may fail to comply with the process. Also, the cost involved in installing the RFID devices to vehicles is very high which many small transporters may not opt.
The government must also realize that the logistics and transportation business in India in highly unorganized and not tax compliant either. Hence, the e-way bill could be more of a burden than a boon. Experts believe that the bill needs to be simplified further so that it could be beneficial for small transporters as well.
A recent media report stated that Hasmukh Adhia, revenue secretary, has assured the transporters that the tax authorities will provide them with some time to get used to the new system and not impose penalties at the onset.
Generally speaking, it remains to be seen how the government handles the entire scenario. In case the government fails, it could be a big blow to business in India and the whole purpose of GST would be defeated.
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